Pinky

PinkieAfter 023“Pinky” found its’ way to us through an acquaintance that I made during my employment at  Denver Motor Vehicle.  Knowing that I was interested in vintage cars, Michelle came to me one day to ask if I knew of anyone interested in purchasing her grandmothers car.  She went on to tell me that her son had planned to get it running someday, but that just wasn’t happening, and there it sat in her driveway for 22 years.  So came the decision to get rid of it.  I started to take some notes since I belonged to a vintage car club, thinking someone might be interested in rescuing it.  Michelle said it was a 1960 Rambler American.  I knew what a Rambler was, but couldn’t recall whether it was the “roundy, ugly” body style, or the “square, boxy” style.  She reckoned that it was probably the “roundy, ugly” style, and added that it was a four door model.  So far, so good.  It didn’t sound like anything I was particularly interested in until I asked her what color it was.  She answered “Pink”.  Hmmmmm.  Being drawn to automotive oddities and orphans (and let’s just admit it,  PINK!), I told her we’d be over to look at it that evening.  After turning the corner to her house, there it sat in all its’ glory!   Four flat tires, and 22 years of leaves composting on top of it.  In spite of that we fell in love with it!  We negotiated the price and next thing I knew we were on our way back to the shop in Yuma with Pinky in tow.

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After a little research, it was discovered that 1960 was the last year for this particular series, and the only year that it was produced in a 4 door model.  Nash had produced a small car (the Rambler) on a 100″ wheelbase from 1950-1955, then discontinued it.  After corporate transition into American Motors Company, execs decided they needed a car to fill the gap between the compact Metropolitan import and the larger Ambassador models.  Since they still had the tooling for the earlier 100″ wheelbase Rambler, it was quickly resurrected with minor styling changes as the 1958 Rambler American.  In 1960 the line was expanded adding a four door sedan to the two door coupe and station wagon lineup.  A top of the line Custom model was added that featured an overhead valve six cylinder engine.  Pinky is the more conservative Deluxe model and has the 195.6 cid flathead six engine pumping out 90 hp.  In a splurge of decadence, it was ordered with an AM radio, heater, full wheel covers and the Flash-O-Matic automatic gearbox.  Gotta love the name game for everything of that era.  It was actually a Borg Warner M8 cast iron case three speed automatic that was air cooled by fins on the outside of the torque converter.  At the shop, after a thorough clean up and inspection, a brake system rebuild, new tires, battery, and all vital fluids replaced,  Pinky purred back to life.  The interior was surprisingly intact, due in large part that her grandma had installed clear plastic seat covers when new.  Even though the clear plastic had turned black and brittle, the original upholstery was in very serviceable condition.  Grandma had obviously had a couple of fender benders over the years resulting in mismatched paint blending on the RF fender and doors.   Despite the cosmetic deficiencies, we enjoyed many outings and cruises in it.  Without fail, the little pink Rambler draws attention and smiles wherever it shows up.  After moving back to Yuma, we decided it was time to give it the facelift it so richly deserved.  I stripped it of all trimwork,  replaced the damaged RF fender and RF door, and delivered it to a local painter for application of a fresh coat of “Festival Rose” paint.

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After reassembly,  we decided to drive it the following June to the Orphan Car Show in Ypsilanti, Michigan.  It was an amazing trip, staying on the two lane roads as much as possible.  Pinky was happiest at 60-65 mph, and we were able to take in lots more scenery than what the interstate highways offer.  The car made the 2500 mile trip without any problems.  It is still one of our favorite rides.

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